A twist in Image Award nominations

Times Staff Writer

The NAACP Image Awards typically honor the best in African American film, television, music and literature. But nominations for the 2004 awards delivered a surprise diversity-tinged twist Wednesday by honoring two foreign films centered on non-black cultures and snubbing several popular black TV shows.

“Whale Rider” and “Bend It Like Beckham,” hits with international and American audiences, were nominated for motion picture, and “Whale Rider” star Keisha Castle-Hughes was nominated for motion picture actress. “Whale Rider” is set in a Maori community of New Zealand, while England-set “Bend It Like Beckham” focuses on a young female Indian character who idolizes England’s premier soccer star, David Beckham.

Other motion picture nominees include “Bad Boys II,” “Deliver Us from Eva” and “The Fighting Temptations.” “Bringing Down the House,” one of the year’s most popular comedies with crossover audiences, was not nominated for motion picture, although its star Queen Latifah was nominated for film actress.

Motion picture actor nominees include Cuba Gooding Jr. (“Radio”); Denzel Washington (“Out of Time”); Laurence Fishburne (“The Matrix Revolutions”); Samuel L. Jackson (“S.W.A.T”); and Will Smith (“Bad Boys II”). Joining Castle-Hughes and Latifah in the film actress category are Beyonce Knowles (“The Fighting Temptations”), Gabrielle Union (“Deliver Us From Eva”) and Halle Berry (“Gothika”).


The major television categories were marked by the exclusion of the WB network, which features comedies starring Steve Harvey, Anthony Anderson and Holly Robinson Peete, and the snubbing of UPN’s freshman series “All of Us,” from executive producers Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, and “Eve,” starring rap star Eve.

Nominated for best comedy are “Bernie Mac,” “Girlfriends,” “Half & Half,” “Whoopi” and “My Wife and Kids.” Drama nominees include “24,” “Boston Public,” “CSI: Miami,” “Soul Food” and “The Wire.”

The awards will take place March 6 at the Universal Amphitheatre.